Southern California breaking news and trends

Scenes from a drain: Echo Park Lake construction tour

Echo Park Lake drained from boat house

Kevin Ferguson

View from the Echo Park Lake boathouse, mid-renovation.

A hard hat tour of drained Echo Park Lake drew a collection of public participants, bloggers, and city employees to the multimillion dollar pile of dirt, concrete and rocks on Thursday morning.

The Eastsider LA reports that water could start finding its way into the rebuilt crater within two months, according to project manager Marlon Calderon. The northwest corner, aka future home of a replanted lotus bed, may be the first to rehydrate.

Echo Park Lake, still very much a construction zone, continues to swim toward a spring 2013 grand reopening following a $65 million draining, cleaning, and rehabilitation effort that includes development of a wetland around the island


Carmageddon 2: The end of the world returns Sept. 29-30 to the 405 freeway

Mercer 19522

Grant Slater/KPCC

Drivers made their way back onto a section of the 405 freeway that had been shut down for much of the weekend.

Mark your doomsday datebooks, Metro has announced that the I-405 Freeway will be closed in both directions, between the 10 and the 101, over the weekend of Sept. 29-30. Plan dinner parties accordingly.

Carmageddon 2: Congestion Boogaloo will take the form of a 10-mile closure for 53 consecutive hours as work on the Sepulveda Pass continues. The portion of closed freeway typically touches tires with about half a million motorists on a normal weekend, says Metro. 

During the shutdown, workers will be demolishing the rest of the Mulholland Drive bridge. Drivers across the state are being advised to "Plan Ahead, Avoid the Area, or Eat, Shop and Play Locally."

Last July's Carmageddon closure wrapped up 17 hours ahead of schedule. Thursday's announcement did not include the same hopefulness, noting, "The contractor is unlikely to complete the work early because it has more demolition work to perform within the same 53-hour period."


8,000 melted weapons get a shot at a new life in construction

guns melted

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department

“These weapons that you see here will never again be used to commit a crime or used to threaten or intimidate an innocent victim,” said Sheriff Lee Baca.

Melted down at a local still mill, more than 8,000 weapons seized in Los Angeles County will get a shot a new life when they're turned into construction rebar rods.

The weapons, collected by 20 law enforcement agencies as part of "Project Isaiah," are taken every year to Gerdau Steel Mill in Rancho Cucamonga where they undergo the transformation, said Sheriff Lee Baca.

Remodeled as rebar, the former weapons will be used in upgrades to freeways and bridges in California, Arizona and Nevada.


Metro, the FBI and why Carmageddon 2 is running late

Los Angeles's 405 Freeway Closes Completely For Bridge Repair

David McNew/Getty Images

Part II of the end of the world is going to be a little late. 

Carmegeddon 2 has been delayed, says Metro spokesman Marc Littman. He's referring to plans to completely shut down a section of the 405 for a whole weekend, just like last summer, in order to complete work on the Mulholland Bridge.

The date for starting construction has been held up by unforeseen utility work and a $300 million lawsuit, reports the Daily News.

One unexepected issue is the need to remove utility poles, and the resulting demand by the FBI — working out of the building on 11000 Wilshire Boulevard near the construction site — that "Metro workers go through security clearance before working on the sensitive FBI lines," Littman told KPCC.

Metro hopes to continue phase two of the Mulholland Bridge work by the end of the summer. The construction is part of the $1 billion Sepulveda Pass Improvement Project that will see 10 miles of carpool lanes added to the northbound 405, three bridges rebuilt and upgrades to on- and off-ramps (aka the Rampture).


The Rampture? 405 Freeway ramp closures to bring Carmageddon cousin

Screen capture via GoogleMaps

If you're thinking of taking this exit come next month, think again. Wilshire Boulevard's 405 freeway ramps will be closed for 90 days starting June 22.

We survived "Carmageddon," but are we ready for an extended spin-off of long-term closures when the 405 freeway's Wilshire Blvd. ramps project begins next month? Also, what will we name this new traffic calamity?

Metro is preparing to construct 30-foot flyaway ramps in hopes of replacing the constantly jammed intersections that currently lead onto the freeway, they explained in a video:

County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, who explains the ramp closures in detail, blogged that the construction will take 90 days and start on June 22.

According to the L.A. Weekly, Yaroslavsky first coined the staying name of this construction project's older brother. "Carmageddon" was an instant hit, but this time media outlets have yet to settle on a moniker. While an LA Curbed reporter jumped on dubbing the 405 freeway ramp's second overhaul "The Rampture," the L.A. Times seems to be going with "Carmageddon II."